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Law amended to execute projects sans competition

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has amended the Public-Private Partnership Act 2014 to give wide-ranging exemptions to the government-owned and foreign entities to execute projects under the law without competition.

The provincial assembly in its sitting on Friday passed the amendments to the law. The bill was introduced the same day but the lawmakers passed it without going into details.

The amendment bill has changed the definition of the bidder and person to include the federal government, foreign government or public international organisation so that they can carry out projects under it.

In the amended Act, Section 28-A has been inserted, which reads that notwithstanding anything contained in this law or the Public Procurement Rules, requirements of Section 14 to 27 (both inclusive) and Section 29 shall not apply to (a) projects that are undertaken in PPP mode but where the concessionaire is an entity, agency, corporation, company, consortium or other body or institution owned or controlled by the federal or provincial government.
Official says the spirit of Public-Private Partnership Act has died following the amendment

The PPP Act 2014 was meant to provide for the participation of the private sector in the financing, construction, development, operation or maintenance of infrastructure or development projects. However, the inclusion of the provincial and federal government-owned entities has changed the basic framework of the law.

“The very spirit of this law has died with this amendment,” an official requesting anonymity told.

The official said for the second time in less than a year, the government was amending the law.

He said earlier, the law department had asked the government to make room by amending some provision for own needs. “Apparently, the suggestion was brushed under the carpet,” the official said.

The newly-inserted Section(b) allows the projects where the concessionaire is a person, wherein the majority shareholder therein is state owned enterprise, entity, agency, corporation or company, owned or controlled directly or indirectly by a foreign state.

Section C permits the projects undertaken in line with international obligations, commitment or arrangements or arrangements of the government arising out of an international agreement or agreement with a foreign state or any international multilateral financial institution or a person.

The amendments are apparently aimed at removing legal hitches in bringing foreign investment as the provincial government is eyeing massive Chinese investment in the province.

Hours after the amendments were passed, CM Pervez Khattak along with a huge entourage of 160 people left for China to attend an investment road show, where the government will showcase around 80 projects valuing billions of rupees to attract Chinese investment.

The exemptions from sections 14 to 27 of the Public-Private Partnership Act 2014 will allow the government to bypass the criteria and rules to ensure competition on any project under this law which it currently has to follow under the KP Public Procurement Rules.

Interestingly, the Public-Private Partnership Act previously provided for seven circumstances authorising the award without competitive procedures.

Section 28-A (2) of the law states that the provision relating to competition, advertisement and response time provided in the Public Procurement Rules will not apply to the projects undertaken under that criterion.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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